Second year pro, first year lacing up the skates in an NHL game. After a pretty notable season from Stockton Heat centre Adam Ruzicka, FlamesNation places him at sixth in the Calgary Flames prospect rankings. 
Like the team he played on, Adam Ruzicka faced some personal highs and lows in the 2020-21 season. Even so, he broke a team record for the Heat early in the season for earning three points in four straight games. This came through a stretch of games in late February/early March against the Toronto Marlies and Belleville Senators. Who was on his line at that time, you ask? Matthew Phillips and Connor Zary. An electric trio that was only split up so Zary could return to the Kamloops Blazers. 

Adam Ruzicka
Left-handed centre
Born May 11, 1999 (Age 22) in Bratislava, Slovakia
6’4,” 203 pounds
Drafted in the fourth round (109th overall) by CGY in 2017
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Ruzicka is a tall centre that if you saw playing a little too far away from the TV, you thought you may be watching Sean Monahan based on his body language and typical playing style. Ruzicka has a shot and a presence in the face-off dot that put him in the top percentile of the AHL and on the cusp of some promising NHL opportunities. He also uses his height and hockey IQ to protect the puck very well and create opportunities for himself and his linemates. 
In two seasons with the Heat, Ruzicka has proved himself as an everyday top-liner. In his first pro season in 2019-20, he earned a total 27 points with 10 goals and 17 assists in 54 games. A number he almost matched the following season in 26 less games. Last year, Ruzicka earned a total 21 points with 11 goals and 10 assists in 28 games. The only reason he didn’t play in all 30 games with the Heat was because of some overlap when he got two separate call-ups to the Flames.
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What stood out about his game last season was his line chemistry and ability to finish plays. Had there been a typical All-Star Game, he would have very well received votes. All-Star players were awarded at the end of the season but Adam would have come up just short on that list as Connor Mackey was the only recognized skater for the Heat. He is just a few pieces away from being a complete NHL-calibre player. Those pieces include skating abilities, production consistency and a little more of a physical side of his game that can use extra emphasis. 
Ruzicka could have very well been a season-long taxi squad player but in the best interest of the future of the club, it was a very good thing he wasn’t. The closest he came to this role was his seemingly 24-hour stint on the Flames taxi squad in the last half of the season that gave him a feel for that role but did not promise the NHL experience you would expect out of travelling with the team.
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Ruzicka himself mentioned how the taxi squad was very secluded and he didn’t feel like in that short period that he really got the NHL experience. He also did not feel like he got to connect with the Flames coaching staff as much as he would have liked. However, by the end of the season, Ruzicka ended up with three NHL games under his belt and his first NHL point in the books. He made his official NHL debut on May 16, 2021.
Due to the timing and the status of the global pandemic at the time, Ruzicka did not end up playing for Slovakia in the IIHF World Championship, but he would have definitely fit into the lineup. However, that did not hinder any future potential opportunities as he played in the Olympic qualifying tournament with Slovakia just days ago and secured a spot in Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics set to kick off in early February. 
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Ruzicka has made his international contributions a large part of his hockey career with almost yearly appearances in international tournaments representing his home country dating back to the 2014-15 season.

Expectations for 2021-22

Barring any scheduling conflicts or shocking twists, Ruzicka is expected to attend Flames training camp here in a few weeks and will see some time in pre-season games. Unless something significant has changed in his game in the summer, he will start the regular season in Stockton alongside his regular linemates from last season. 
Ruzicka is young and full of potential. His point production should stay on pace or exceed his play from his last two seasons and with his former head coach Cail MacLean making his move up to the Flames this season as an assistant coach, there may be some more personnel influence and conversations around additional NHL opportunities for Ruzicka in the near future.
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2021 FlamesNation Prospect Rankings